Feb 18, 2017

3 Tricks to tune your ukulele and keep it in tune

Since ukuleles have nylon strings they are a little harder to keep in tune than an instrument that has steel strings.

3 Tricks to tune your ukulele and keep it in tune
This is because nylon strings stretch allot more than steel strings do, especially when they are new. You may get a new ukulele and think there is a problem with it and it won't hold a tuning.

Don't worry, after you learn these tips and tricks you will be able to properly tune your ukulele and keep it in tune longer.

You will Learn More and Play More with Play Ukulele NOW.

Find out for yourself why teachers and students have depended on Play Ukulele NOW Methods and Songbooks since 2009


UPDATE: Here's a video on this:

VIDEO: Keep your Ukulele in Tune - 3 Tricks

How to tune your ukulele

C tuning is the most common ukulele tuning. The ukulele can be tuned to a piano, a digital tuner or pitch pipe.

It might be best to get a digital tuner. When using a pitch pipe or a piano, It can be difficult for a beginner to determine if the note they tuning to matches the note they are hearing. As a student becomes more experienced and develops their ear it will become easier to tune to a piano or pitch pipe.

3 Tricks to tune your ukulele and keep it in tune

C tuning is as follows:

Tuning to a piano and what notes to tune the ukulele to:

Click on this chart to see it up close

The Numbers indicate the four strings of the ukulele. The number 4 string is the closest to you when holding the ukulele.

The notes, G, C, E, A can be easily remembered by singing this phrase, “My Dog Has Fleas”

Tuning the ukulele with a pitch pipe

You blow into the pitch pipe and it produces a sound. You then tune the string on the ukulele to match that sound. It sounds a bit like a harmonica. 

The student must be able to tell when the note they are tuning on the ukulele matches the note they are playing on the pitch pipe. This may be difficult for beginners.

Tuning the ukulele with a digital tuner

The best way to tune your ukulele is with a digital tuner. It will tell you which note you are closest to and how close you are to it. There's a meter on it that will tell you when you're in tune.

The tuner pictured above is one of my favorites because it clips right on to the ukulele and can be used with some background nose.

Check pricing and availability for the current model: Snark SN6X Clip-On Tuner for Ukulele (Current Model)

I highly recommend the Snark clip on tuners they are very easy to use. Get yours here:

Relative tuning

Relative tuning means tuning the instrument to itself. This is useful if a tuner is not available.

1. Tune the first string to A if possible, (if you have something to tune it to).

2. Place your finger behind the 5th fret on the second string and tune it so that it sounds like the first string.

3. Place your finger behind the fourth fret on the third string and tune it so that it sounds like the second string.

4. Place you finger behind the second fret on the fourth string and tune it so that it sounds line the first string.

Tuning Trick #1: Before you tune your ukulele, stretch the strings

Before you tune, especially if the ukulele or the strings are new, stretch the strings.

Do this by firmly pulling the string away from the ukulele one at a time. Even if you stretch the strings it could take a few days to a week for the uke to get dialed in and hold a solid tune because new strings will still stretch out a bit more as you are playing.

Tuning Trick #2: Make sure the tuning keys are tight, learn about ukulele tuning keys

Make sure the tuners are properly adjusted. There is usually a screw in the tuning key that can be adjusted. Make sure the screw is tight enough that when the string is tuned up to pitch it holds the string securely.

If not properly tightened the key can move and the string can slip out of tune. Even the least expensive tuning keys, if properly adjusted should work fine.

Here are the different kinds of tuning keys you might find on a ukulele:

Basic geared tuners

Basic geared tuners like this are found on most entry level ukuleles. The screw on the gear must be tightened to prevent the gear from moving. If it is not properly tightened the tension of the string can cause the gear to move.

Friction tuners

Most better quality ukuleles will have these. The screw on the bottom of the button must be tightened to prevent the string from slipping. When tightening the string you may notice these moving slightly with the pressure of the string, that just means they need to be tightened.

Sealed tuners

These are similar to the geared tuner but the gear is sealed inside to prevent dust and dirt from interfering with it's operation. There is a screw that can be adjusted on the end of the tuning button if they slip. These are the least likely to need adjustment.

Tuning Trick #3: Always tune UP to the desired note

Always tune up to the desired note, this helps keep the proper tension on the portion of the string that is wrapped around the tuning key.

If the note is high go below the note and tune up to it very slowly. If you pass the note DO NOT GO BACK AND FORTH to get to the note. Go down below the note and tune up to it again. Tune up to the note slowly so you do not pass the note.

These tips and tricks should help you keep most ukuleles in tune!

If your just getting started get a copy of the FREE Play Ukulele Now eBook click here or check out the Play Ukulele NOW Methods and songbooks here

Your ukulele friends will want to see this - pin me!

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